Appellants' closing statement – Waterside park

APPEAL REFS: APP/U2235/A/14/2224036 & U2235/A/14/2229271
1. This closing statement will be short. The main issues that we identified in our opening
statement, consistently with those identified by the Inspector, remain the same and have
provided a framework for this closing statement. These main issues, whilst they have been
much debated during the inquiry, are not such that require lengthy submissions; they involve
considered judgments, but there is no great complexity in them. We also note that the evidence
from all parties will be fresh in the mind, and for that reason it would be wrong to trawl through
in great detail matters on which the Inspector will have a good recollection as well as a clear
2. These submissions are set out under the following headings:
a. Policy and approach;
b. Economic need and benefits;
c. Landscape and visual effects;
d. Heritage issues;
e. Other objections; and
Planning balance and conclusions.
3. Before turning to these matters we would like to make the following broad and largely
undisputed submissions:
a. Two important and locally valued businesses (Scarab and ADL) have for several years
been looking for a suitable site to which to relocate their businesses, but without
success. Between them they employ some 440 people. One of those businesses can
wait no longer. On 11 May 2015 ADL announced its intention to relocate its
distribution centre to the Midlands, with the loss of up to 100 local jobs. The
predicament faced by these two businesses is a reflection of an increasingly urgent need
for more and better quality employment land – of the right size and in the right locations
to retain growing businesses in and attract new businesses into Maidstone.
b. Maidstone Borough Council (the “LPA”) has an adopted local plan, the Maidstone
Borough Wide Local Plan 2000 (the “Local Plan 2000”), but that plan is woefully out
of date, having been adopted in 2000 and based on the development needs identified in
the late 1990s. Whilst some policies were saved in 2007, it provides no up to date policy
framework in which to assess business development proposals and its employment land
allocations are of no value now in meeting existing and future economic needs from
c. In order to provide an up to date policy framework, the LPA has been working on the
production of a local plan to replace the Local Plan 2000, but this process has now
lasted for over ten years and there is even now a lack of clarity about its future
timescale. The draft replacement local plan has not yet been submitted for examination
and the absence of an up-to-date local plan has provided an unwelcome policy lacuna
in terms of the provision of sufficient and suitable employment land to meet the
borough’s needs.
d. Maidstone borough’s economy is underperforming, and without concerted action, it is
likely that it will continue to underperform. In order to achieve its ambitions for the
future, it is critical that Maidstone Borough Council supports its existing businesses in
growing and attracts new businesses to the area. That means that the LPA must ensure
a reliable pipeline of quality office, industrial and warehousing accommodation in
locations that are attractive to modern business.1 The LPA recognises that there is a
need for the allocation of significantly more employment land, and over and above that
which has been identified in the Regulation 18 version of the emerging local plan.
However, notwithstanding the responsibilities placed on it by the NPPF, no suitable
sites exist to meet the needs of existing, expanding businesses and to attract inward
e. Although there has been prevarication over the last few years, the evidence base for the
draft local plan has fairly consistently pointed to a clear need for additional land to be
brought forward within the motorway corridor and junction 8 has long been identified
as a strategic location for employment land. The latest indications from the local
authority suggest that it is likely to be allocated for employment in the next draft of the
local plan. Maidstone Borough Council’s independent consultants (“GVA”) have
Paragraph 5.4 Draft Economic Development Strategy, CD38
indicated the value that proximity to the M20 has for businesses; council officers
consider that junction 8 is the only suitable location to meet the needs identified in
GVA’s more recent study; the Planning and Economic Overview and Scrutiny
Committees have each resolved to support in principle the allocation for employment
land at junction 8 (subject to a suitable mitigation policy); and the majority of
Maidstone residents support the allocation of Junction 8 for employment2.
Waterside Park has obvious merits in relation to the provision of employment land to
meet identified needs in Maidstone borough. It is strategically very well located, with
excellent and near direct access to the M20. The site has the capacity to provide large
footprint buildings in a high quality and prestigious environment that will be attractive
to modern businesses. It is also close to a good pool of labour in the Maidstone area,
with its varied skill sets and a good age profile.
g. The appeal site is in the countryside but there is no prohibition against development in
countryside locations, and if development needs are to be met, as required by the NPPF,
some loss of greenfield land is inevitable.
Policy and approach
3. Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires that applications for
planning permission must be determined in accordance with the statutory development plan
unless material considerations indicate otherwise. As we noted in our opening statement, that
statutory approach is reflected in paragraph 11 of the NPPF. The starting point is therefore the
statutory development plan, although the weight to be attached to the statutory development
plan and other considerations is a matter of planning judgment in the light of the circumstances
in each case. The NPPF is clearly a very important consideration.3 Of particular importance is
the presumption in favour of sustainable development, which is now enshrined in government
policy and which must now be applied in assessing and determining development proposals.4
Paragraph 14 of the NPPF defines what the presumption in favour of sustainable development
means. For decision-taking it means that where the development plan is absent, silent or
relevant policies are out-of-date, granting permission “unless any adverse impacts of doing so
would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies
in this Framework taken as a whole”. It is the Appellant’s case that this weighted balance should
be applied in this case.
See paragraph 196 of the NPPF.
See paragraph 197
4. It is common ground that the statutory development plan in this case comprises the saved
policies of the Local Plan 2000.5 Notwithstanding the age of this plan, there is no other relevant
statutory development plan document.
5. It is also common ground that the main body of the appeal site has no specific designation or
allocation in the Local Plan 2000 other than its designation by policy ENV28 as countryside
outside a defined settlement. It is not within the AONB for the purposes of policy ENV33, and
only the A20 roundabout and a small section of adjoining roadside verge is within the North
Downs Special Landscape Area for the purposes of policy ENV24. There are some saved
employment policies, but as explained by Mr Buckwell in his proof of evidence, none of these
apply to the appeal site or is directly relevant to issues that arise in this case.6
6. What is in dispute is the weight to be attached to the Local Plan 2000. We make the following
submissions in relation to this argument.
7. First, the Secretary of State’s Saving Direction in 2007 did not contemplate that the policies
that were to be saved would still be in place in 2015. The Saving Direction letter7 stated as
“The exercise of extending saved policies is not an opportunity to delay DPD
preparation. LPAs should make good progress with local development frameworks
according to timetables in their local development schemes. Policies have been
extended in the expectation that they will be replaced promptly and be fewer policies
in DPDs...
...Where policies were adopted some time ago, it is likely that material considerations,
in particular the emergence of new national and regional policy, and also new evidence,
will be afforded considerable weight in decisions.”.
7. It is clear from the evidence that contrary to the Secretary of State’s advice when he decided to
save certain policies, DPD preparation has been delayed and the LPA has not made good
progress on the draft local plan. There was no “prompt” replacement of the saved policies; far
from it. Moreover, since 2007 policy has moved on, in particular at national level, and there is
now a new set of circumstances in terms of policy and economic needs. In this context it should
also be noted that the NPPF requires that plans “should be kept up-to-date”.8
8. Secondly, government policy has changed considerably since the adoption of the Local Plan,
and indeed since the Secretary of State’s 2007 Saving Direction. The NPPF introduced a
See section 5 of the Statement of Common Ground.
See paragraphs 6.2.7 to 6.2.8 and 7.2.8. None of these are referred to in the LPA’s reason for refusal.
Dated 24 September 2007
Paragraph 17, 1st bullet (see also paragraph 213)
number of step changes in government policy which are not reflected in the Local Plan 2000.
There are two which are of special importance in the context of this appeal.
9. The Government now places great emphasis on economic growth. In particular, it says that
“significant weight should be placed on the need to support economic growth through the
planning system” and that local planning authorities “should plan proactively to meet the
development needs of business and support an economy fit for the 21st century”. It also requires
authorities to set out a clear economic vision and strategy “which positively and proactively
encourages sustainable economic growth”.9 The reference to supporting existing business
sectors, taking into account their expansion, and to rapid changes in economic circumstances is
particularly relevant in this case.
10. The other step change to which attention must be drawn is the presumption in favour of
sustainable development. This overarching policy is new and obviously important.
11. It is clear that the LPA considers that the Local Plan 2000 is not up to date in terms of these
two step changes in government policy. This was expressly accepted by Mr Goddard on behalf
of the LPA in cross-examination.
12. Thirdly, Policy ENV28 is clearly an out of date policy by reference to the NPPF and current
circumstances. The following submissions are made in this respect10:
a. The policy defines the countryside for the purpose of controlling development outside
of the “development boundaries” shown on the proposals map: “The countryside is
defined as all those parts of the Plan area that are not within the development
boundaries”.11 The policy directly relates to development provision and the policy
approach to be taken to development proposals; it places strict control against
development (with few exceptions), including housing and employment land.
b. The Local Plan 2000 was intended to cover the period up to 2006. The boundaries set
by Policy ENV28 were established having regard to economic needs identified long
ago, in respect of a period ending in 2006, and they were formulated in a very different
economic and government policy context to that which exists today. They were based
on evidence as to the predicted need for economic development and employment land,
as well as for housing land, for the period between 2000 and 2006. In cross-examination
Mr Goddard considered that the policy was probably based on information gathered
between the mid-1990s and 1998. Those boundaries self-evidently have no relevance
to current needs and more recent government policy. Mr Goddard, in effect conceded
See paragraphs 18 to 21 of the NPPF.
See Mr Buckwell’s proof of evidence in particular paragraph 6.2.6 et seq.
See paragraph 3.87 of the supporting text to ENV28.
this point in cross-examination. [CHW Added orally – KCC/R6 Closing para 74 was a
bad point (that need does not necessarily mean ENV28 is out of date as provision could
be made in the built up area) as it was clear from whatever perspective taken that in
order to meet the qual and quant need on any basis, greenfield land is said to be needed.
Note the Reg 18 dispersed strategy]
c. Not only is policy ENV28 out of date in relation to setting the boundaries for
development control, it is also out of date in relation to government policy in relation
to countryside. The supporting text to ENV28 makes clear that the rationale for the
policy does not accord with current national policy. Mr Goddard accepted in cross
examination that the supporting text was important in explaining the purpose and
rationale for the policy. Paragraph 3.89 refers to “the need to protect the countryside
for its own sake”, which was government policy under PPS7 (key principle (iv)), as
was the need to strictly control development in the countryside (paragraph 1 of PPS7).
Those policies were not included in the NPPF, which in paragraph 17 (5th bullet) refers
to “recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside” rather than
protecting it for its own sake. The LPA did not in its written evidence rely on the
Lenham decision letter. It was right not to do so. The case was by written
representations, without the benefit of tested evidence at inquiry and oral argument,
and the arguments raised in this appeal were not considered in that appeal. Mr Goddard,
who gave evidence on behalf of the LPA, rightly did not rely on the Lenham decision
letter. Indeed, his evidence in cross-examination supported Mr Buckwell’s argument
that the policy is out of date. He expressly accepted that the first part of the policy in
ENV28 was a reflection of the supporting text in paragraph 3.89 which in turn referred
to the now superseded test in PPS7. He expressly accepted that policy ENV28 was not
up to date in terms of setting development boundaries because their rigid determination
did not accord with the NPPF which adopted a more flexible approach to the
countryside. The Council has, in considering a number of applications for housing
development, reached the conclusion that policy ENV28 is not to be treated as up-todate. Mr Carpenter is not correct to say that a different approach must be taken in
respect of housing and employment cases because of the operation of paragraph 49 of
the NPPF. While paragraph 49 clarifies that policies for the supply of housing should
be treated as being out-of-date in certain specified circumstances, that does not
preclude other policies being out-of-date. Other policies may be out-of-date for a
number of reasons. They may have been overtaken by things that have happened since
they were adopted, either on the ground, because of some change in national policy, or
for some other reason. While Mr Goddard was not aware of any decision in which the
Council had treated policy ENV28 as out-of-date, he accepted the principle that if the
policy was out-of-date for the purposes of housing land supply, then the development
boundaries that it set were out of date. In his words, “Policy is either up-to-date or outof-date”12. In our submission, ENV28 is out of date.
13. Fourthly, as Mr Buckwell explains in his proof of evidence13, the saved employment policies
of the Local Plan 2000 are similarly out of date, being referable to the same local plan period
which expired over 8 years ago and formulated in a very different policy context. They are of
no assistance in determining this appeal. The Local Plan 2000 does not contain any policies for
the allocation of land to meet the current need for employment land and Mr Goddard accepted
in cross examination that there were no policies on employment land in the Local Plan 2000
that were relevant to curent needs.
14. Acknowledging the need for up to date policies to meet economic and other needs, the LPA has
been seeking to produce a replacement plan. However, even after ten years the emerging Local
Plan is still at a very early stage and its future timetable is unclear. Both the Appellants and,
importantly, the LPA have asked you to place very little weight on the policies of the emerging
Local Plan. Notwithstanding the LPA’s position, Kent County Council, the AONB Executive
and Natural England disagree with the LPA as to the weight which should be attributed to its
own emerging policies. Mr Carpenter was alone among the four planning witnesses in
suggesting that ‘reasonable’ weight should be accorded to policy SP5 in the emerging Local
Plan. In our submission it would be wrong to accord anything more than very little weight to
the policies in the emerging Plan, applying the guidance in paragraph 216 of the NPPF: the
emerging plan is at a very early stage in the planning process; there are unresolved objections
to draft policy SP5; and the wording of the policy is not consistent with the NPPF in an
important respect, as Mr Buckwell explained.14
15. For the reasons set out above, the Local Plan 2000 is out of date and should carry very little
weight. Accordingly, the weighted balance in paragraph 14 of the NPPF should apply. This
means that the proposed development should be allowed unless its adverse impacts significantly
and demonstrably outweigh its benefits.
Economic need and benefits
Cross examination of Michael Goddard, 7th May 2015
Paragraphs 6.2.7 to 6.2.8 and 7.2.8.
As he explained further in his oral examination, the settlement boundaries for the purposes of the policy and
the word “rigorously” remain to be tested at examination.
16. There is a need for the Waterside Park development to come forward. That need is not expressed
as a single element but in three different ways. First, Scarab Sweepers is a successful local
business that needs this site in order to secure its long term future.15 Secondly, there is a general
need for this development to come forward in terms of employment land in Maidstone borough.
Thirdly, there is a wider need for the proposed development in the context of the Maidstone
and wider economy.
17. Very considerable benefits will accrue to the local economy if this development is allowed.
National policy:
18. Paragraphs 18 to 21 of the NPPF, which make clear the Government’s commitment to securing
economic growth, are of particular relevance in this case. The Government’s policy is that:
a. “…significant weight should be placed on the need to support economic growth
through the planning system”16;
b. “To help achieve economic growth, local planning authorities should plan proactively
to meet the development needs of business…”17;
c. “local planning authorities should:
 set out a clear economic vision and strategy for their area which positively and
proactively encourages sustainable economic growth;
 Set criteria, or identify strategic sites, for local and inward investment to mateh
the strategy and to meet anticipated needs over the plan period;
 support existing business sectors, taking account of whether they are
expanding or contracting…Policies should be flexible enough to accommodate
needs not anticipated in the plan and allow a rapid response to changes in
economic circumstances;…”
19. In terms of plan making, the NPPF requires that local planning authorities “should have a clear
understanding of business needs” and assess “the needs for land or floorspace for economic
development, including both the quantative and qualitative needs for all foreseeable types of
economic activity over the plan period” as well as “the existing and future supply of land
available for economic development and its sufficiency and suitability to meet indentified
Summary proof of Mr Cassingham, paragraph 1.5
Paragraph 19
Paragraph 20
Paragraphs 160 and 161
Local policy:
20. What of the Maidstone local plan? As we have already explained, the Local Plan 2000 is
woefully out of date and, as Mr Buckwell describes in his proof of evidence, the local plan
allocations are of no relevance to the B2/B8 uses proposed in these appeals.19 Contrary to the
Government’s policy, there is no policy framework that seeks to plan proactively to meet the
needs of business. There is no clear economic strategy, nor any strategic sites or policy criteria
for local and inward investment. Nor is there any policy that responds to business needs, in
particular to meet changing economic circumstances. There is, at the local level, a policy
vacuum that can only serve to discourage local businesses and inward investment – the very
antithesis of Government policy.
21. What has the LPA done about it? As Mr Buckwell explains in his proof of evidence20, the
emerging local plan is at a very early stage and its employment land policies carry very little
weight. Nothwithstanding the many years that have passed since 2000 or since the Saving
Direction in 2007, nothing has been achieved which can reasonably be said to serve a positive
purpose in terms of planning for economic needs in Maidstone.
22. The failure of the LPA to provide a policy framework for economic development over such a
long period is difficult to understand, and there is no satisfactory reason for it. We do not refer
in detail to the long history of employment land planning in Maidstone, which Mr Buckwell
describes in his proof of evidence21, although we do highlight the following points:
a. The 2008 Economic Development Study 2008 referred to the lack of quality sites
stifling inward investment and recognised the importance to the Maidstone economy
of strategic access to the M20.22
b. The GVA 2008 Employment Land Study identified the appeal site as a potential new
industrial site with good strategic road access.23
c. The GVA Employment Land Review 2011, which considered a plan period of 2006 to
2026, forecast that the warehousing and distribution sector would grow significantly
over the period, that the locational attributes of Maidstone would make it an attractive
Paragraphs 7.2.7 to 7.2.9
See in particular paragraphs 7.2.11 to 7.2.14
Paragraphs 5.2.7 to 5.2.43
Paragraph C4 and E4 of CD23
See paragraph 5.2.14 of Mr Buckwell’s proof of evidence.
warehouse/distribution activity. 24
d. The Regulation 25 draft Core Strategy 2011 (Regulation 25) stated that the principle of
development for certain types of industry and employment uses (manufacturing and
distribution) at or near to the borough’s motorway junctions had been established and
identified junction 8 as a strategic location for employment development.25
e. The 2012 draft Core Strategic Sites Allocation identified the J8 area as a broad location
for employment growth with the appeal site as an option for consultation.26
Following a further employment land review by GVA, the LPA Cabinet agreed in 2013
that land at junction 8 should be retained as a strategic development location.27
g. Following consultation on the 2014 Regulation 18 draft Local Plan, which proposed
dispersed and limited employment land allocations, and further work carried out by
GVA, the Planning Transport and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee and
the Economic Development approved the principle of Junction 8 as a strategic location
for employment development.28
h. Consistent with that position, Mr Buckwell explained in his oral evidence that the
Cabinet approved the 2014 draft Economic Development Strategy for consultation, this
document endorsing the prioritisation of future land allocations along the M20 corridor.
23. This history shows that the Council’s evidence base has fairly consistently pointed to a clear
need for additional employment land to be brought forward within the motorway corridor and
at junction 8, the only exception being between March and October 2014 for the purposes of
consultation on the Regulation 18 draft Local Plan, which was based on GVA work that has
since been overtaken. It also shows that despite the repeated calls for potential sites over the
last 10 years, no site has come forward which would meet the needs of Scarab or ADL or indeed
the general need for large industrial or distribution premises.
24. This is the general context for the applications. Mr Buckwell explains in his proof of evidence29
how Gallaghers, a local developer, over a long period received regular interest from agents and
potential occupiers seeking industrial and logistics floorspace in Maidstone. In early 2013,
Paragraphs 3.27 and 3.38 of CD6
Paragraph 5.7, CS1 and the Key Diagram of CD27
Section 5 of CD28
See paragraph 5.2.27 of Mr Buckwell’s proof of evidence.
Appendix 4 to Mr Buckwell’s evidence
Section 6
Gallaghers were approached by agents working on behalf of ADL and Scarab, who had both
shortlisted Waterside Park as meeting their requirements.
25. The first planning application was made in September 2013 and promoted by both ADL and
Scarab. Following the refusal of that application in February 2014, both companies continued
to work with Gallaghers to see if the original scheme could be amended to overcome the LPA’s
concerns. The revised application was also supported by both ADL and Scarab. However in
March 2015, following the refusal of the second application in October 2014, ADL confirmed
that the Waterside Park development could not be delivered within their required timescales.
26. We pause here to respond to the attempt made by Mr Cameron on behalf of the KCC/R6s to
undermine the element of the needs case represented by ADL. The Inspector will remember
that Mr Cameron suggested to Mr Alderton that ADL had only a mere preference for the
Waterside Park site and that the company was ready to fall back on the G Park site in
Sittingbourne. That suggestion is far from accurate or fair, as the evidence, properly interpreted,
shows. Leaving aside Mr Cameron’s overly forensic and incomplete focus on the word “fall
back” in the Alternative Sites Assessment and his blind eye to the complete phrase “potential
fall back option”30, Mr Cameron was wrong in a number of respects, as Mr Alderton and Mr
Buckwell made clear in their written and oral evidence. He was wrong to treat the ADL report
dated 201231 as more than an initial and broad exercise. This is made clear by the ADL letter
itself, written by Mr P Dodgson, Operations Director of ADL, to which, tellingly, Mr Cameron
made no reference. The letter expressly states that the report contained no formal scoring system
to rank the sites and explains the company’s approach following that report. In particular it
stressed the importance of staff retention; it is quite clear from the staff consultation carried out
that a very large majority of workers were reluctant to relocate to Sittingbourne and it was this
that in large part led to the company being committed “passionately” to the Waterside Park
scheme, viewing Waterside Park as the “priority” site, as Mr Alderton and Mr Buckwell
explained.32 The ADL letter, Mr Alderton’s and Mr Buckwell’s evidence are entirely consistent
in explaining ADL’s position in that respect. Mr Cameron was also wrong to suggest that there
should be some doubt about ADL’s position on the basis that the company would have known
some time ago that its timescales for relocation referable to its lease end in 2017 could not be
achieved. As explained by Mr Alderton and Mr Buckwell, this suggestion ignores the fact that
ADL and Gallaghers had agreed a detailed programme (including phased and parallel works on
site) which could be achieved so as to enable occupation by that date. It was only after the
refusal of the first application that ADL, being so disappointed with the LPA’s response,
Paragraph 2.5.6 of the Alternative Sites Assessment
Appendix 10 of Mr Buckwell’s proof of evidence
In their oral and written evidence
became concerned about the question of delivery and decided to explore more thoroughly
potential relocation options outside the borough, including Sittingbourne, Ashford and the East
Midlands; and it was only in April this year that ADL were able to confirm to Mr Buckwell
that the company could no longer pursue Waterside Park. Mr Alderton and Mr Buckwell were
in direct communications with ADL and it was abundantly clear to them that ADL would not
relocate to Sittingbourne, as they both confirmed to the inquiry. There was plainly “no appetite”
for that site, as Mr Buckwell said. And as Mr Alderton noted, the company has proved that, by
not relocating there.
27. The decision by ADL not to pursue the Waterside Park site was not a reflection of any perceived
disadvantage of the appeal site, but simply because it became clear that the uncertainties were
such that relocation to the appeal site could not be achieved within the company’s timescales.
It was of course also a consequence of the failure of the LPA to ensure the provision of sufficient
suitable industrial sites to meet business needs. ADL’s decision to leave the county altogether
and instead pursue options in the Midlands provides irrefutable evidence of the secondary
quality of all of the sites which have been paraded at this inquiry as supposed viable alternatives
to Waterside park, since ADL was aware of, and had considered, all of these but has decided
that they are not adequate options to fulfil their needs. As we have already said, ADL’s
departure will mean the regrettable loss of up to 100 jobs.
Scarab’s need:
28. Mr Cassingham told the inquiry that Scarab manufactures a bespoke product in the market. It
currently exports approximately 70% of its machines, and has distribution channels in over 30
countries. Successful growth in sales means that it has outgrown its facilities at Marden and
needs to relocate.
29. While Scarab has seen considerable growth in recent years, in the last three years its growth
has plateaued because of the limitations of its existing facilities.
30. Currently Scarab occupies four industrial units and one portacabin office. The layout of the
Marden site means that products have to be transported between work centres and buildings
multiple times, which leads to considerable inefficiencies in the manufacturing process. The
facilities at Marden are far from prestigious (they even lack proper catering facilities) and do
not meet the standards that would be expected of a successful business of this type. The recent
site visit will have made good these points.
31. As Mr Cassingham explained to the inquiry, the sector in which Scarab operates requires it to
be in a position to react quickly to opportunities and to increase its output in short timescales,
but its production has reached its maximum capacity at the current premises. Indeed, in recent
times it has even had to turn away work because it did not have the capacity to take it on. At a
time when its competitors are becoming increasingly efficient, the facilities at Marden prevent
Scarab from becoming more efficient, and there is a real risk that it will begin to lose its market
share unless action is taken to secure suitable premises.
32. Scarab has been looking for alternative sites since 2011. It instructed local chartered surveyors,
Stephens Maguire to undertake a general survey of potential locations for a new headquarters
and factory site. It did not restrict its search to sites within Maidstone’s administrative
boundary. Scarab had and still has a number of requirements – a single site location for the
factory and offices, a prestigious location, easy access to the M20 motorway, a site which can
accommodate future business growth and, very importantly, a location which is appropriate for
staff retention. Scarab instructed Stephens Maguire that staff retention was vital.33 Scarab’s
staff are very important to the business. Over 90% of its staff are trained – that is, they come to
the job with training for example in hydraulics, pneumatics and electronics but still require
further training once they start at Scarab, in the production of its bespoke products. Scarab’s
staff turnover is very low, and many of Scarab’s staff have been within the company for over
10 years. Indeed in his evidence in chief, Mr Cassingham himself explained that he is only the
third managing director of the company since it started over 35 years ago, having worked his
way up over the past 23 years with the company, where he started as an apprentice and trained
directly under the business’s founder, himself an entrepreneurial resident of Maidstone.
33. Stephens Maguire produced a report34 in December 2011 identifying a number of potential
sites. That report also referred to a number of sites outside its area of search, but recognising
the importance to Scarab of staff retention it expressly acknowledged that these would be
unlikely to be of interest.35 These sites included G.Park, Kingsnorth and Neats Court.36 Mr
Cassingham confirmed in his oral evidence that he rejected all of those sites at the time as being
unsuitable to meet his businesses’ needs, and that his view has remained the same since.
34. Stephens Maguire were asked to consider three sites in further detail – the Waterside Park site,
Aylesford Commercial Park and a site in Staplehurst, and they produced a second report in
January 201237. All of the potential sites identified by Stephens Maguire were rejected as
unsuitable by Scarab, with the exception of Waterside Park.
35. Other than Waterside Park, there are no suitable, available sites to which Scarab can relocate,
either within or outwith Maidstone’s administrative boundaries.
JB11-2 and JB11-6
36. The LPA accepts that there are no suitable alternative locations to which Scarab can relocate
within the borough38 and did not seek to suggest that there were any suitable alternative
locations outside of Maidstone borough.
37. KCC accepts that there are no alternative sites within Maidstone’s administrative area.
However, it argues that there are a number of alternative sites that meet Scarab’s requirements,
albeit outside of the borough. Mr Sinclair, on behalf of CPRE, belatedly suggested that there
was a suitable alternative site at Hermitage Lane, and that the Aylesford Newsprint site may
become available at some point in the future, although there was no mention of these sites in
his written statement to the inquiry, or in the R6 party’s Statement of Case. We turn first to
examine KCC/R6’s contentions.
38. Mr Cottage, for KCC, put forward a number of alternative sites which would meet Scarab’s
needs. However, Mr Cottage is not at all well placed to speak to this matter for two reasons.
First, no-one before this inquiry knows the Scarab business better than its Managing Director,
Mr Cassingham. No one is in a better position to know what his business’ needs are than him.
In cross-examination Mr Cottage confirmed (notwithstanding some of the language used in his
proof of evidence) that he did not dispute any of the factual evidence that Mr Cassingham has
given to the inquiry. He also accepted that he was in no position to question the necessity or
desirability of relocating his business. We submit that in the light of these concessions, Mr
Cottage is in no position to contend that Scarab should, or would be likely to, relocate to the
“alternative” sites which he put forward. Mr Cassingham is best placed, better placed, if not the
only person placed, to make the judgment that none of the so-called alternative sites would
meet his company’s needs. And he has given unequivocal evidence to this inquiry that he will
not relocate his business to any of those sites.
39. Secondly, Mr Cottage is not a commercial agent and does not claim specialism in commercial
markets. He has never let or sold any industrial property in the Kent area. His only involvement
with commercial relocations has been in the context of compulsory purchase. His expertise is
limited to the context of compulsory purchase, which is very different. His lack of experience
in the commercial market outside the context of compulsory purchase was particularly evident
in his consideration of the alternative sites he suggested. Mr Cottage suggested that staff
retention would be a ‘manageable’ issue at a number of alternative sites which he considered
to be suitable for Scarab’s needs. In oral evidence in chief, he revealed that by this he meant
that “permanent, irreparable harm and irreversible loss” would not be caused to the business as
a result of staff losses if the businesses relocated. In other words, his evidence was that Scarab
should be content to move to one of the sites he identified provided that the move would not
Proof of Mr Goddard, paragraph 6.11
cause them permanent, irreparable harm and irreversible loss. That may be the approach
adopted for a business that is subject to compulsory purchase proceedings, in that it will have
no choice but to move and will be compensated for any losses it suffers as a result of the move,
but it is not realistic or reasonable to expect a company to accept such losses when the very
purpose of the relocation is to grow and to improve and strengthen its business. [CHW added
orally “This was in effect also the approach of the Joint Parishes as set out and revealed in RKJ’s closing statement”]
40. As Mr Cassingham has explained, the suggested alternative sites put forward by Mr Cottage
are non-starters. We make the following brief comments about each of them. [CHW added
orally in reference to KCC/R6 Closing para 61 (Scarab only willing to move to the ‘perfect’
location) that it was unfair to seize on one word used by DC in XX and does not fairly reflect
his evidence or the position of Scarab. It is true to say that WP is the perfect site but that is not
the same as saying DC would only be prepared to go to a perfect site. It is clear from DC’s
evidence that he carefully considered all other sites on their merits and concluded none were
suitable – i.e. the compromises necessary were too serious and high amongst the disadvantages
are staff retention and access to the M20.]
41. There are three buildings at the Invicta Riverside site, designed for three separate occupiers.
Scarab needs a single building in order to achieve efficiency benefits. Mr Cottage accepted that
this site would not satisfy Scarab’s requirements in terms of efficiency and said in cross
examination that he “totally understood that Scarab would say that Invicta does not tick the
box for efficiency, so it doesn’t work”. Furthermore, the immediate environment and adjacent
uses (including a sewage works) do not provide the prestigious environment for a company
headquarters that Scarab seeks.
42. G Park is at least 11 miles away from the M20. Mr Cottage accepted in cross-examination that
access to the M2 is not as beneficial as access to the M20. It is the M20 that Mr Cassingham
wants to be near, not the M2. According to Mr Cottage the uncongested journey time from
Maidstone town centre to G Park is 22 minutes. In peak journey times this journey could take
considerably longer. There is often significant congestion at junction 5, and there can be long
queues along the A429. Detling Hill can be difficult to negotiate during the winter. All of these
factors are relevant in considering whether staff would be prepared to make the journey on a
daily basis – reliability is an important factor for staff when they are considering their journeys
to work, as confirmed in the evidence of Mr Lewis who provided the inquiry with more realistic
journey time estimates and also his professional views about travel decisions. Mr Cassingham
knows his staff (he referred to interviews with each member of staff, in which there was evident
concern raised about the relocation and its implications for commuting) and says that many of
them would not be willing to commute to G Park. G Park has been on the market for around 10
years, and other than Morrisons, it has not attracted a single occupier in that time. Clearly it
does not meet the requirements of the market, as explained by Mr Alderton. Mr Cassingham is
clear that it does not meet the needs of his company. He rejected it in 2011/2012 and he rejects
it now.
43. Neats Court is on the Isle of Sheppey. It is in a remote location which is not suitable for Scarab’s
needs. It is further still from Maidstone, and from the M20, than G Park and relocating there
would result in even greater staff retention difficulties than G Park. This site too was not
considered by Scarab in its original search in 2011/2012 because of its remote and isolated
location. Neats Court is surrounded by open fields and marshland and it is not remotely suitable
as a location for Scarab’s headquarters. Mr Cassingham’s evidence could not be clearer – he
will not locate his business on the Isle of Sheppey. His judgment is supported by the expert
market evidence of Mr Alderton.
44. Kingsnorth Commercial Park is located on the Isle of Grain. It has been on the market for over
ten years and has not attracted a single occupier during that time. Even since the infrastructure
was installed in 2009, it has not attracted any occupiers. This is a clear reflection of its remote
and unsuitable location. It simply does not meet the needs of the market, as Mr Alderton has
said, and nor does it meet Scarab’s needs. [CHW added orally 1) Hermitage Lane – MA said
site plainly not big enough, an irregular shape and put forward for resi development. 2)
Aylesford Newsprint – MA/JB both confirmed it is not available and what we know reveals
that we now know nothing else about it. It cannot be said to be any likely prospect of
availability if and when, for any particular use. Options are plenty and include sale of business
or redevelopment (for what uses is not clear).]
45. If Waterside Park does not come forward, Scarab will be forced to stay at its Marden site. While
in that circumstance Mr Cassingham would do everything he could to ensure the continued
success of the business, he is realistic in recognising the challenges that he would face. Simply
put, with the limited floorspace and inefficient arrangements at Marden, the company would
not be able to increase its manufacturing capacity any further than its current level. Faced with
increasingly efficient competitors, Mr Cassingham foresees that Scarab’s share of the market
would be likely to decline, and that the company’s ambitions for growth would be unlikely to
materialise. These difficulties would not be overcome by acquiring the building which ADL
will vacate when it moves its operations out of Kent, as suggested by Mr Cottage. Scarab is
beset by inefficiencies at Marden because it is forced to carry out its manufacturing processes
across four separate buildings. It wishes to obtain a freehold property at a prestigious location
befitting of a successful business. Acquiring the leasehold of yet another building at the same
unsuitable location is not the answer to its problems and Mr Cassingham has ruled out the
acquisition of the ADL building, were it to become available. In cross-examination Mr Cottage
accepted that acquiring the ADL building at Marden would not solve Scarab’s difficulties, but
said that if they did so, they would not be in any worse a position than at present. While Mr
Cameron, on behalf of KCC/R6 expressly disavowed any challenge to Mr Cassingham’s
ambitions for Scarab, in effect the KCC/R6s’ case was just that - in effect saying that Scarab
should be willing to remain at its Marden site, and make do. Mr Cottage’s suggested that Scarab
would be able to maintain viability.39 However, this is to ignore the fact that Scarab’s growth
has reached a plateau because of the problems with its current facilities. If it is to grow and
increase efficiencies and continue to compete in the international market, it needs to solve its
current problems rather than simply prolong them. Again, Mr Cottage’s own experience has
led him to consider Scarab’s position from the wrong perspective. Whilst Mr Cottage said in
cross-examination that he does not take issue with Mr Cassingham’s evidence as to the
company’s needs, his written evidence pays no regard to or any real appreciation of those needs
and is consistent with Mr Cameron’s approach - in ignoring the requirements of the company
to grow and preferring to argue that the company should simply make do. This approach is
inconsistent with the NPPF (as referred to earlier in these submissions) and displays, at best, a
dangerously complacent view as to the needs of local businesses and of the Maidstone
46. Scarab is committed to Waterside Park. For almost three years it has worked with Gallagher to
secure planning permission for the appeal site. These two local companies have a relationship
of trust and have worked consistently together to secure their common aim in respect of
Waterside Park. Its Managing Director, Operations Manager and HR Manager have given up
considerable time to prepare for and attend this inquiry. The reason for that is because they
know that Waterside Park presents the only opportunity for their business to achieve its
ambitions for growth and to secure its long term future. In these circumstances there can be no
doubt about Scarab’s commitment to the Waterside Park site. The comment that there is “no
legally binding agreement” simply ignores not only the evidence of the company’s significant
commitment already made, but also the (fairly obvious) difficulties presented in terms of
binding the parties at this stage when there are so many variables in terms of costs and timing.
As Mr Alderton said, such a contract would be extremely difficult and amount to no more than
an option. Mr Cassingham’s evidence is clear enough – there can be no doubting the
commitment of Scarab to the Waterside Park scheme. [CHW added orally – KCC & MBC’s
suggestion of relucatance on behalf of the appellant to offer a 1 st occupier clause was simply
not so (ref to JB evidence). The appellants are content to offer it – the only concern was whether
it was necessary having regard to Regulation 122.]
Proof of Mr Cottage, paragraph 6.8
General Need:
47. The benefits of the case have been focused around the needs of ADL and Scarab, since that was
why the scheme came to fruition in the way that it did, but there is also significant evidence of
a general need for employment land. The problems faced by ADL and Scarab reflect the general
needs case advanced by the Appellants.
48. It is the Appellants’ case that there is a significant quantitative and qualitative need for
additional employment space including large industrial and distribution buildings as proposed.
49. The GVA Qualitative Employment Site Assessment of September 201440 was published after
Maidstone’s Regulation 18 draft Local Plan was published for consultation. The draft policies
in the Local Plan clearly did not have regard to the findings of the qualitative assessment. The
September 2014 assessment identified a shortfall of supply to meet future needs which was
likely to necessitate the allocation of new land through the Local Plan.41 The report concluded
that there were not enough good quality sites of the right size and in the right locations to
accommodate future economic growth, that new land allocated should aim to accommodate the
likely requirements of future growth sectors – of which manufacturing is one, and that “future
allocations should prioritise space along the motorway corridor to support growth of
businesses that largely serve national and regional markets”. It is unsurprising, therefore that
no party has disputed the qualitative need for the proposed development at Waterside Park to
come forward.
50. In the report to the meeting of the Planning, Transport and Development Overview and Scrutiny
Committee on 21 October 2014, MBC explained that the Regulation 18 draft Local Plan would
not meet the identified qualitative needs identified in the GVA September 2014 report, and that
based on the outcomes of the Strategic Economic Development Land Availability Assessment
(SEDLAA), the only additional available land at a motorway junction was at Junction 8.42 It
said that the combined findings of the evidential documents on employment needs pointed
towards identifying land in the location of J8 in the Local Plan for a mix of offices, industrial
and warehousing uses, and that with the NPPF direction to meet the needs of the economy in
full, MBC’s officers considered that the balance of planning and economic development
considerations weighed in favour of identifying land at J8 for employment in the emerging
Local Plan.
CD40, paragraph 8.7, page 80
CD39, paragraph 1.3.27
51. At the joint meeting of the Planning, Transport and Development Overview and Scrutiny
Committee and the Economic and Commercial Development Overview and Scrutiny
Committee on 21 October 2014, MBC’s principal planning officer explained that the list of
employment sites in the consultation version of the Local Plan did not meet the quantitative or
qualitative needs for employment land in the borough43, and that the evidence suggested that
demand would be best met by a single, large allocation of land close to the highway network.
She explained that “Junction 8 of the M20 motorway was considered, by officers, to be the only
suitable location to meet the need”44. Both Committees resolved to support the principle of
development at Junction 8, provided an appropriate mitigation policy was developed.45 While
the ultimate decision to allocate Junction 8 for employment land will be for MBC’s Cabinet, it
is inconceivable that it will fail to have regard to the body of evidence and the important
resolutions of the Planning and Economic Development Overview and Scrutiny Committees
which weigh heavily in favour of allocating Junction 8 for employment.
52. A consultation on Maidstone’s Draft Economic Development Strategy 2014 – 2031 (the
“Economic Strategy”) specifically sought the views of residents on the allocation of Junction 8
for employment land, explaining, incidentally that the development would be a business park
of about 20 hectares, and that would be “considerably smaller than the KIG development
previously proposed”46and 51% of those responding to the consultation supported the
allocation of J8 for employment land.47
53. The Committee report on Appeal B48 expressed full support for the proposal and explained that
Junction 8 would not only meet the needs of Scarab but also provide a significant boost for the
borough as a business location. The officer’s report recognised Junction 8 as a prestigious site
in a location attractive to business in the motorway corridor. Even if it was not occupied by
Scarab, the officers’ report accepts that the development could provide significant employment
and associated benefits to the borough.49
54. There is important common ground here – the GVA study, the committee reports which
considered them, the Economic Strategy and the committee report on the Appeal B planning
application all acknowledge a need. However, there is more to the common ground even than
JB4-7 and JB4-14.
Appendix JB5-2
Appendix JB5-3
CD51, paragraphs 8.124 – 8.126
55. It can be seen from the Statement of Common Ground that the LPA expressly accepts that there
is a need in respect of Scarab’s (and ADL’s) requirements and a general qualitative employment
need to support the proposals.50 In Mr Goddard’s evidence, on behalf of the LPA, there is
nothing to detract from this, nor is there any argument to the effect that there is a lack of a
quantitative need which in some way detracts from the economic needs and benefits case
advanced by the Appellants.51 Moreover, the Statement of Common Ground52 and Mr Goddard
confirm that the LPA has not been able to identify any available site that could meet the stated
needs of ADL or Scarab. Even more importantly than that, he expressly accepted that he did
not dispute the evidence presented by Mrs Evans. There was of course no cross-examination of
Mrs Evans either.
56. The KCC/R6s do not provide any quantitative or qualitative needs evidence. Mr Carpenter
refers in his proof of evidence to the LPA reports to Cabinet and Committee in October 2014
and decisions approving the drafting of a policy for consultation in support of employment
provision at Junction 8. He does so without questioning their content or that of the GVA reports.
The KCC/R6s’ case is not to challenge those decisions or to dispute the findings in the GVA
reports. There was of course no cross-examination of Mrs Evans either. Her evidence was not
challenged by the KCC/R6s. [CHW added orally with ref to KCC/R6 Closing para 67
(conclusions on needs and benefits) that it was important to note that there was no challenge to
EE’s evidence. Whilst NC can properly say there are 2 views, that would indicate no view – it
is not appropriate to submit that there is uncertainty since that throws doubt on evidence before
you and in particular EE’s evidence. If there was any doubt, that could and should have been
challenged but wasn’t.]
57. The CPRE Kent R6s do not provide any qualititiave needs evidence either. Whilst Cllr
Harwood, for CPRE Kent sought en passant to suggest that there was no quantitative need for
this development, he was isolated in this respect even from his own group’s case. There was of
course no cross-examination of Mrs Evans either.
58. We turn now to the evidence of Mrs Evans. That evidence is very important. As we have
emphasised, it was not disputed by any party to the inquiry.
59. In very broad terms Mrs Evans agrees with the GVA conclusion that there is a quantative and
qualitative need for more employment land in Maidstone borough. However, as Mrs Evans
explains in her proof of evidence, the issues go much further than this. GVA has significantly
Section 7
It should be recalled that both reasons for refusal included the asserted lack of a quantitative need as a
reason against the proposal.
Paragraphs 6.13 to 6.17
underestimated the need for more employment land and not fully appreciated the significance
of the shortfall in the context of Maidstone’s economy.
60. Following a careful review of the GVA work, and applying the guidance on employment land
reviews53, she concludes that the GVA Economic Sensitivity Testing and Employment Land
Forecast of February 201454 (the “GVA Economic Sensitivity Report”) significantly
understates the demand for employment space, in particular relating to industrial floorspace,
and overstates the supply of land. There is, she says, a dearth of suitable land or space for large
businesses looking to relocate in Maidstone.
61. It will be remembered55 that, focusing on industrial land, she considered the GVA work against
the guidance in the OCPM Employment Land Revies: Guidance Note (ELRGN) 2004 and in
relation to the three “essential steps” in assessing demand for future land: employment growth
in industrial sectors, density of occupation of industrial floorspace and the level of frictional
vacancy that is required for a market to function.
62. In respect of employment growth in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, she points out
that economic forecasting models, such as that used by GVA, perform badly in the context of
changing trends, and do not reflect the slowing trend of decline in the manufacturing sector and
the fact that the wide category of ‘manufacturing’ conceals a complex mix of sub-sectors, some
of which are growing strongly.56 The February 2014 GVA study did not appropriately take into
account the finding of the Employment Land Review (CD24) that trends were changing within
industrial use classes and did not include a scenario considering the impact on land use if
manufacturing trends were not as pessimistic as set out.57 She explains that while the GVA
model estimates a growth in industrial employment of just 226 jobs between 2011 and 2031, in
fact 150 jobs were created in the manufacturing sector in the two years from 2011 to 2013 alone
– 66% of the total manufacturing jobs predicted to be created over a twenty year period, in just
two years.58 If that increase reflects a pick-up in trends in the manufacturing sector, then even
at just half the rate seen in the past two years, that would suggest that some 745 jobs could be
created in that sector over the next twenty years, which would increase the land requirement
from 5.1ha to 9.8ha.59
63. With respect to the density of occupation of industrial floorspace, Mrs Evans explained that
industrial space in Maidstone is occupied at the lower end of the HCA Employment Densities
ODPM Employment Land Reviews: Guidance note (ELRGN) 2004
Proof of Ms Evans, paragraph 5.21
Proof of Ms Evans, paragraph 5.28
Proof of Ms Evans, paragraph 5.31
Proof of Ms Evans, paragraph 5.30
Proof of Ms Evans, paragraphs 5.35 – 5.36
Guide, yet GVA did not carry out any checks of the current densitites of occupation in the
appropriate sectors and locations to ascertain typical densitities in Maidstone. Nor did they
apply sensitivities to their scenario to assess the impact that different densities of occupation
would have on future employment land requirements.60 If 55 sqm per employee were allowed
to reflect Maidstone’s typical lower densities (rather than just taking the average of 36 sqm per
employee), then the land requirement would increase from 5.1ha to 6.1ha.
64. Mrs Evans does not consider that GVA has made enough allowance for frictional vacancy (or
‘churn’). In its 2011 ELR report, GVA adopted an approach based on historic trends in actual
vacancies in the market, suggesting vacancy rates of around 7%. While those vacancy rates
have not changed, in its February 2014 report, GVA, with no explanation or justification for
their reasoning, adopted a different approach which made less allowance for frictional vacancy.
Had they continued to base their assessment on actual vacancy rates, the industrial land
requirement would increase from 5.1 to 7.0ha.
65. The effect of these three factors, or rather of the corrections that ought to be made, is to increase
significantly the land requirement for industrial uses. The GVA Employment Land Forecast
calculated a land requirement of 5.1 hectares. For the reasons that she gives, Mrs Evans
concludes that 15.2 hectares is a more realistic land requirement figure. This would result in a
net industrial land shortage of 6.2 hectares, even assuming that the GVA work on the supply
side is correct (which it is not). As Ms Evans clarified in her oral evidence in chief, she also
considers that GVA’s requirement forecast for office and warehousing land is also significantly
understated, by about 2.2 hectares, which would result in an overall net employment land
shortage of 11.3 hectares, again even assuming that the GVA work on the supply side is correct
(which it is not).
66. These conclusions are of course of great importance. Any underestimate of land requirements
will act as a constraint to future economic growth and thereby undermine Maidstone’s ability
to achieve its economic growth, as Mrs Evans emphasised.61
67. In terms of employment land supply it is Mrs Evans’ view that the GVA study is wrong in
assuming that all identified land is able to accommodate the forecast need, and that this is
especially relevant in the context of industrial land supply. She concludes62, that the supply of
land has been overstated. There are a number of reasons for this but in essence they are twofold:
because whilst the potential for on-site expansion can accommodate some growth it does not
allow for the location of firms requiring units with a significant amount of floor space; and
Proof of Ms Evans, paragraphs 5.41 – 5.44
Paragraphs 5.21 and 5.67 of her evidence
Proof of Ms Evans, paragraph 5.84
secondly, because so-called ‘vacant land’ simply does not meet the requirements of many
businesses, least of all those firms that require good transport accessibility. It is of particular
note that she identifies a shortage of employment land supply in the M20 corridor, and a
shortage of larger units to accommodate bigger firms.63 In short the land identified in the GVA’s
assessment of current supply is in the wrong place and not large enough.
68. This is not an exercise of academic interest. As Mrs Evans explains in her proof of evidence,
and her professional opinion has not be questioned by any party to the inquiry, the consequences
for the Maidstone economy are serious. Clearly, there is a very worrying general shortage of
employment land across the business sectors and an extremely small supply of large scale stock
to meet growth of local companies or attract inward investment. Given the poorly located
employment land and the extremely limited supply of large scale stock, demand for larger units
that does exist will not have any option but to leave Maidstone and demand that would
otherwise be met in Maidstone will be lost, to the serious detriment of its economy. As Mrs
Evans explains, if Maidstone is to achieve its economic goals as set out in the Economic
Development Strategy, these issues must be addressed. For that reason she concludes that it is
important to bring forward the appeal proposals now in order to enhance Maidstone’s under
performing economy.64
69. Mrs Evans’ evidence is supported by Mr Alderton’s evidence of the market. He verified that
her evidence is consistent with his experience in the industrial and distribution market. Indeed,
it was his view that the Waterside Park scheme would quickly become established as a prime
site in the market and that it would be a unique opportunity to meet the significant current and
future needs and demands for industrial and distribution space in Kent.
70. There was no other expert evidence to dispute that of Mr Alderton. Whilst Mr Cottage made
some very limited comments about the matter, he did not claim any specialism in the
commercial market, his experience being limited to the CPO world. He agreed in crossexamination that it was fair to say that he is not an expert in agency matters. Mr Alderton on
the other hand is very much an expert in the field – with over 35 years in the commercial
property market and undisputed expertise and experience, especially in Kent.
71. Mr Alderton’s opinion that the Waterside Park site would be a prime site for the market was
informed not only by his considerable experience but by a number of considerations to which
his proof of evidence refers and to which he spoke in evidence; which we summarise below:
Proof of Ms Evans, paragraph 5.85
Paragraph 5.104 of her proof of evidence
a. The most likely demand will come from major and other retailers/supermarkets, 3 PLs
for distribution hubs and manufacturers.
b. There is a general trend in the distribution market for larger units of 200,000 sq ft in
strategic locations.
c. Manufacturers of all sorts can seek large units of 150,000 sq ft (like Scarab)
d. Even though the predominant demand in Kent is for smaller buildings, experience
shows that there is a very strong underlying demand for space in the mid-box (50,000
– 100,000sq ft) and big box (100,000sq ft+), reflecting Kent’s importance in the
regional and sub-regional market.
e. The Locate in Kent data 2014 shows clear demand for large units with enquiries for
buildings of over 100,000 sq ft, although this is an underestimate (and Mr Alderton
explained why at any one time he would only expect a handful of larger requirements
(over 100,000sq ft) in the market).
There is already a significant number of large 200,000 sq ft buildings in the Kent area
proving historic demand for large distribution buildings.
g. The market favours the “central Kent” area (a sub-area of mid-Kent)
h. Maidstone is the focus of virtually all mid-Kent enquiries, due to its location.
Maidstone is the preferred location for the market. Other locations, such as
Sittingbourne and Kingsnorth, are but poor and distant (or remote) relations.
There are currently no suitable sites or buildings available in Maidstone to meet the
need for those larger units. The total lack of supply hides demand (since prospective
large unit occupiers know about lack of supply). In particular, there is a paucity of
large, good quality and well-located industrial sites in Maidstone.
The increase in speculative schemes in the Maidstone area reflects the market interest
in the area.
k. ADL and Scarab are two examples of Maidstone businesses in the current market for
buildings exceeding 100,000sq ft. That fact itself is a clear demonstration of demand.
The applicaton at Woodcut Farm is a further clear demonstration of confidence in the
market for large buildings of the type proposed (by Roxhill Developments Ltd).
m. The provision of the site will itself generate further demand given the site’s favourable
location in mid-Kent. The excellent location of the Waterside Park effectively next to
the M20 as well as the prospect of a high quality environment will be highly attractive
to large unit occupiers looking for space.
72. The evidence is there is a need and demand for a large employment site close to the highway
network in Maidstone.
73. Waterside Park is the only appropriate location within the borough at which that need can be
Maidstone needs and benefits:
74. Maidstone Borough Council’s Economic Development team supported both applications, and
in respect of Appeal B, the Economic Development Manager recognised that Scarab provided
significant local employment and supported the national government agenda to help rebalance
the economy through exporting. Furthermore, he said that in the context of falling numbers in
private sector jobs in the borough, and threats to public sector jobs, the expansion of Scarab
was important to the wellbeing of the economy. Waterside Park was said to represent a £50m
investment in the local economy which would raise the profile of Maidstone as a business
75. The officer’s report in respect of Appeal B recognised that even if Waterside Park was not taken
up by ADL or Scarab, a number of benefits would accrue as a result of the general employment
provision at Junction 8. It would create a site that would be attractive to inward investment and
create a significant marketing opportunity to promote the borough as a new business location66
and fill a gap in the qualitative business offer for Maidstone by providing employment uses at
a motorway corridor location that was attractive to the market.67 The officers concluded that
the proposed development would provide strong economic benefits which would sufficiently
outweigh the level of harm identified.68 There is no suggestion that those benefits were not
accepted by the Members, even though on balance they took a different view as to whether
planning permission should be granted in the light of their judgment on the landscape and
heritage harm that they said would be caused.
76. Mrs Evans evidence in relation to the economic benefits of the development proposals was not
disputed. As she explained, the proposals would give rise to very significant economic benefits
which would help enhance the underperforming local economy in Maidstone.
77. Mrs Evans refers to the draft Economic Development Strategy, noting its ominous opening text:
“Maidstone is at a cross-roads…without concerted action by the Council and its partners, there
CD51, paragraph 8.80
CD51, paragraph 8.126
CD51, paragraph 8.126
CD51, paragraph 8.129
is a risk that Maidstone’s economy will continue to underperform.”.69 To that end, the draft
Economic Strategy sets, as its primary aim, the retention of existing businesses in, and the
attraction of new employers to, the borough. It recognises that to support existing businesses to
develop and grow, and to attract new employers it will have to ensure that a pipeline of quality
office, industrial and warehousing accommodation comes forward in locations that are
attractive to modern business, including sites adjacent to the motorway70. Supporting existing
local businesses to develop and grow is critical for the delivery of the job growth Maidstone
wants for the future. Specifically, it says that it will be important to nurture the growing
manufacturing companies in order to capitalise on the opportunities for economic growth that
they bring.71
78. Mrs Evans agrees with all this. She says that Maidstone’s economy has struggled and that it is
necessary to build upon its strengths and take advantage of opportunities for growth. She notes
that the Maidstone economy has become reliant on out-commuting and that employment
creation has been stagnant, having been overly reliant on the public sector - growing private
sector employment needs to be a priority. Mrs Evans also confirms her agreement with the draft
Economic Development Strategy’s acknowledgement of the growing importance of the
manufacturing sector and the need to nurture existing companies and enabling them to grow.
Moreover, Maidstone is struggling to create and support jobs even for its existing residents,
which should be an increasing concern with the prospect of significant residential growth in the
79. In this context the proposed development would be beneficial to the economy in a number of
important ways.
80. First, it would contribute to Maidstone’s key priority by allowing an existing business in the
important manufacturing industry to expand, employing more people, innovating, becoming
more efficient and remaining globally competitive.
81. Secondly, it would also serve to attract new business to Maidstone. The ADL building would
meet the needs of a large occupier – either a local business wishing to expand or from an
incoming business. A significant quantitative and qualitative need for employment land exists
in Maidstone and without allocating a strategic site such as this one, the borough will fail to
attract investment and growth and continue to fall behind.72
Page 3 CD38
Page 24 CD38
Page 21 CD38
Penultimate bullet point under paragraph 6.1 of Mrs Evans’ proof of evidence
82. Thirdly, the appeal proposals would give rise to a significant number of new jobs in Maidstone
and beyond. The construction period alone would provide between 36 to 37 direct FTE jobs
with further indirect jobs as well.73 The completed development directly accommodate 1090 or
840 jobs for Appeal A and Appeal B respectively..74 Taking into account Scarab’s relocation,
re-occupation of the Scarab premises in Marden and a new business occupying the ADL
building, the net job provision in Maidstone would be as much as 675 or 520 jobs (increasing
for Kent to 710 or 545 jobs).75
83. Fourthly, the appeal proposals would allow Scarab to expand and grow whilst remaining in
Maidstone. Scarab currently employs 220 people and contributes over £1,000,000 to the
immediate Maidstone area76. Its turnover in 2012 was £27m77. It is a major contributor to the
Maidstone economy and its growth at Waterside Park would enable further and increased
financial benefits to accrue to the local economy.78
84. Fifthly, the proposals would contribute to wider UK economic benefits. As Mrs Evans points
out, there is now an acknowledgment that boosting exports is crucial in the national economic
growth strategy and linked to this is the desire to support in particular small and medium sized
export orientated manufacturing companies.79 Scarab is well placed to increase its export
business – if it can re-locate and improve efficiencies to increase orders abroad, as Mr
Cassingham told the inquiry.
85. Sixthly, the proposals will contribute towards satisfying demand for strategically wellconnected sites in the distribution sector.80 As Mr Alderton’s explained, the Waterside Park
development will appeal directly to distribution companies like ADL. As Mrs Evans concluded,
having regard to the trends in this sector, the demand for such space and for strategic sites will
86. For all these reasons the economic benefits that accompany the appeal proposals are very
significant indeed, not just for local companies and inward investment but for the future
resilience of the Maidstone economy.
Landscape and visual impact
See paragraphs 4.2-4.7 of Mrs Evans’s proof of evidence.
For the Appeal A and Appeal B schemes – see paragraph 4.15 of Mrs Evans’ proof of evidence
Paragraph 4.27 of Mrs Evans’ proof of evidence
Paragraph 2.1.10 of Mr Cassingham’s proof of evidence
Paragraph 4.27 of Mrs Evans’ proof of evidence
Bullet point 3 of paragraph 6.1 of Mrs Evans’ proof of evidence
Paragraphs 4.47 to 4.56 of her proof of evidence
Paragraph 4.62 of Mrs Evans’s proof of evidence
Paragraph 4.57 to 4.62
87. As we noted in our opening statement, the appeal site is in the countryside, and some inprinciple adverse effects arising from its development for employment uses involving large
scale buildings are inevitable. However, the site is not covered by any statutory or local
designation82 and contains no special landscape features of value, although it has considerable
vegetation at its boundaries. Whilst the site is in agricultural use with pleasant landscape to the
south, it is adjacent to the A20 dual carriageway and other road infrastructure to the north, a
waste transport depot to the north west and a hotel to the east. The site is also well screened by
mature vegetation along much of its northern, western and southern boundaries and all of its
eastern boundary.
88. The proposal is to reduce ground levels on the appeal site, by a maximum of 14m at the western
(higher) part of the site, and create two development platforms. Levels along the western and
northern ends of the site will be maintained with appropriate buffer distances within the site
before re-grading so that all of the site boundary vegetation will be retained. The buildings will
not exceed 69mAOD83 and will be sited within a generous landscape setting with broad areas
of structural planting. The overall objective of both schemes is to provide a high quality
landscape setting for the new buildings, to achieve a high standard of mitigation and to secure
the effectiveness of that mitigation through high quality planting specification and future
89. Mr Etchells has carried out an assessment of the landscape and visual impacts. His assessment
is detailed and reliable. In short, he concludes that whilst the site itself will undergo significant
landscape change, the overall development will have a limited landscape and visual impact on
the surrounding area.
90. We recognise that the Inspector has heard considerable evidence on matters of landscape and
visual impact, and has also had the benefit of an extensive site view. With that in mind, we limit
ourselves to the following submissions.
91. In assessing the effects of the proposed development on landscape, Mr Etchells considered the
quality of the landscape and its value and sensitivity85, the degree of change which will result
Except for a small part of the A20 verge within the designated Special Landscape Area
This is a maximum height as per the development parameters plans. The Appeal B proposal is for a building
height of 67mAOD
The main differences between the appeal schemes are described in paragraph 5.3.7 of Mr Etchells’ proof of
Proof of Mr Etchells, paragraphs 3.2.27 – 3.2.29
from the proposed development86 and the effects of the development on the landscape87. There
was no criticism of his general approach. Indeed, broadly speaking, this was the approach of
all three landscape witnesses.
92. In relation to landscape value, there was considerable discussion about the value and contents
of the landscape character assessments. We make the following short submissions on these
studies. They are useful in themselves (in assessing landscape character) but they are also useful
in illustrating the limitations in the assessments of Mr Green and Mr Russell-Vick.
93. First, the landscape character assessments support Mr Etchells’ view that the appeal site’s
context is of low to medium landscape quality.
94. Secondly, the landscape character assessments undermine Mr Green’s view that the landscape
is of high quality and also indicate that Mr Russell-Vick’s assessment is not complete.
95. Thirdly, while the 2004 landscape assessment was criticised by Mr Green and Mr Russell-Vick
as being out of date, that criticism cannot be levelled at the 2012 Maidstone Landscape
Character Assessment.
96. Fourthly, it is of some significance that the 2012 study considered the area around the appeal
site as a sub-area separate from that of Leeds Castle to the east. That reflects a difference in
terms of character between the appeal site and Leeds Castle and it gardens. It also consistent
with the delineation of the boundary of the Special Landscape Area, which excludes the appeal
site. Mr Green accepted that the decision to exclude the appeal site from the SLA was likely to
have been taken on the basis that it was not of sufficient landscape quality to be included and
that nothing had changed to warrant its inclusion in the SLA.
97. Fifthly, the 2012 study notes the effect of the major transport corridor of the M20, the CTRL
and the A20 on the character of the area. Indeed, the assessment describes this character area,
including the appeal site, as being ‘dominated’ by the transport corridor.88 Mr Etchells agrees.
In his view the appeal site lies within that transport corridor. Mr Green and Mr Russell-Vick
sought to play down the influence of the transport corridor on the landscape character of the
area, Mr Russell-Vick even contending that the appeal site is not in the transport corridor (but
adjoins it).
98. Sixthly, the study notes that the character area contains many visual detractors. Both the
assessment and Mr Etchells identify a notable amount of commercial development along the
A20, including the large hotel, caravan park, garden centre and car cleaning facilities. Mr Green
Paragraphs 6.2.1 – 6.2.3
Proof of Mr Etchells, paragraphs 6.3.1 – 6.4.4
Paragraph 49.28
and Mr Russell-Vick appear to play down the influence that these features have on the
landscape. Mr Etchells has taken into account the Biffa site adjacent to the appeal site. Although
in cross examination Mr Russell-Vick accepted that the Biffa site was a relevant matter to take
into account in assessing the landscape character of the area, he had failed to consider or even
mention it in his proof of evidence.
99. Seventhly, the study notes the influence of audibility of the transport infrastructure on landscape
character, reducing as it does the sense of remoteness. While Mr Russell Vick accepted in crossexamination that noise is a relevant consideration in assessing landscape character, he left this
relevant factor out of account in his written evidence to the inquiry. Mr Etchells explained that
the site’s landscape character is strongly affected by traffic noise, and this will have been
appreciated on the site visit.
Eighthly, it is unsurprising that none of the landscape character assessments promote
the construction of buildings or development generally. Mr Whale tried to make something of
this point, but clearly documents assessing and describing the character of the landscape would
hardly be expected to promote built development. Where there is a reference to avoiding
development, it specifically refers to the area north of the M20.89 Of course, the appeal site lies
to the south of the M20.
Ninthly, Mr Whale criticised Mr Etchells for relying on parts of the study but not others.
This is an unjustified criticism. Mr Etchells does in general agree with the study’s findings, but
there is no obligation that if he agrees some parts he has to agree every word. Attention was
drawn to the study’s reference to the sub-area being “within part of the foreground of the Kent
Downs Area of Outstanding Beauty”.90 That phrase is used as a generalised description of the
sub-area’s “Location”; it is not part of the “Landscape Description”. In any event, as he said,
Mr Etchells disagrees with it for the reasons that he gave in his evidence91. Nor is it accurate,
in Mr Etchell’s view, to describe the appeal site or its immediate suroundings as being ‘at the
foot of the Downs’ as Mr Green sought to do. In fact the appeal site is some 2.2km from the
Pilgrim’s Way which is at the foot of the North Downs scarp.
The appeal site itself has no particular special qualities and thereis nothing distinctive
about the landform of the appeal site. In Mr Etchells’ opinion, contrary to that of Mr Green, the
appeal site is not particularly large in the context of the surrounding expansive landscape, a hill
top, or convex. This is relevant because Mr Green made a series of judgements about how the
CD25, page 410
Paragraph 49.27
Cross examination of Mr Etchells by Mr Whale, 14.5.15
proposed development would ‘destroy the intrinsic hill top character of the site’92; an emotive
comment which Mr Etchells considers to be in no way unjustified.
In longer distance views from the AONB, the only way the appeal site can be picked
out is by reference to the presence of the brightly coloured containers on the adjacent Biffa site,
rather than by reference to any distinctive feature of the appeal site itself. In views from the
appeal site, Mr Etchells explained that from its highest point, moving traffic on the M20 is
visible, as is the CTRL, the line of the A20 and traffic along it, the hotel and the Biffa waste
containers. Further away, the Leeds sewage treatment works is visible to the south. Mr Etchells
explained that in his opinion, one particularly striking feature of the appeal site was the traffic
noise from the A20 and, to a lesser extent, the M20, though this can vary with the wind
direction. There are views of the North Downs from the higher part of the appeal site, but it was
Mr Etchells’ view that landscape quality cannot be judged on the basis of one view only. While
the site itself is pleasant and contains few detracting features, it has no distinctive or special
qualities and is affected by the transport infrastructure and adjacent waste transfer site.93
Given the above, Mr Etchells’ assessment of low to medium landscape quality is sound.
Mr Etchells considers the landscape value to be low to medium94 and the sensitivity of
the landscape as medium95 for the reasons he sets out in paragraphs 3.2.28 and 3.2.29. In cross
examination Mr Russell-Vick said that his opinion differed only slightly from that of Mr
Etchells with respect to the sensitivity of the landscape and visual receptors, and that the
principal divergence between them arose in their assessments of the quality of the existing
landscape, and the impact of the proposed development.
Turning to the impact of the proposed development, the levels on the appeal site will
be reduced by up to 14m and the effect of this reduction will be to set the new buildings down
into the landscape. The proposals allow for the retention and reinforcement of the existing
boundary vegetation, much of which is mature, and at least 15m high. The vegetation currently
screens much of the appeal site’s northern, western and southern boundaries and all of its
eastern boundary and a screening effect will be retained. While the appeal site itself would
undergo a significant change as a result of the development, this would have a limited impact
on the area around the appeal site.96 Mr Etchells has assessed the degree of change to the
landscape of and around the site as low to medium.97
Proof of Mr Green, section 4.30
Proof of Mr Etchells, paragraph 3.2.27
Proof of Mr Etchells, paragraph 3.2.28
Proof of Mr Etchells, paragraph 3.2.29
Proof of Mr Etchells, paragraph 6.2.2
Proof of Mr Etchells, paragraph 6.2.2
Taking into account the medium sensitivity of the landscape and the low to medium
degree of change brought about by the proposed development, the overall landscape effects
have been assessed by Mr Etchells to be moderate adverse at worst, declining to minor adverse
over time.98
The Inspector has had the benefit of an extensive site visit and now has considerable
information on these matters, including photomontages and numerous other photographs to be
used as aide memoires, in order to form a judgment as to both the landscape and visual impacts.
There are differences between the professional witnesses on judgments and these were explored
in oral evidence to the extent it was thought helpful. It was Mr Etchells’ view that Mr Green
has misjudged the existing landform of the site, and therefore the effects which would arise
from the proposed re-grading and has wrongly judged the landscape of and around the site to
be of high quality. It appears also that Mr Green may have been misled by his inaccurate ZTV.
Both Mr Green and Mr Russell Vick have exaggerated the proximity of the site to the North
Downs, and have underestimated the effects of existing discordant and detracting features, in
conflict with published landscape character assessments, and have overstated the harmful
effects of the proposed development. It is Mr Etchells’ view that both Mr Russell-Vick and Mr
Green have both significantly overstated the adverse landscape effects of the development.
In terms of approach, there is broad agreement. Mr Green’s conclusions are clear,
although Mr Etchells does not share his opinions. Mr Russell-Vick’s assessment deserves a
little more comment. Whilst compliant with the GLVIA/3, he reached conclusions that were
limited to whether or not an impact was “significant” – in his words, whether or not it was
“relevant” to the decision maker. He made no judgment as to the scale of significance. When
he was taken in cross-examination to paragraph 5.56 of the GLVIA/399 Mr Russell-Vick
acknowledged that his conclusions were not that the effects of the proposed development fell
within the category of ‘greatest significance’, which would include ‘major loss or irreversible
negative effects…’, or indeed into any other specific level of significance. His conclusions fell
into the category denoted by the third bullet, where no assessment at all is made as to the level
of significance. [CHW added orally with reference to KCC/R6 Closing para 14 (LVIA
Methodology) – The opposite is true bearing in mind PRV gives no view as to the measure of
Mr Green made no criticism of Mr Etchells’ methodology. Nor did Mr Russell-Vick.
Indeed, Mr Russell-Vick said in cross-examination that Mr Etchells’ methodology was
“perfectly compliant” with the GVLIA/3. It was therefore seemed extremely curious that his
Proof of Mr Etchells, paragraph 6.4.1 – 6.4.4
Appendix H to Mr Russell Vick’s proof, pages 92 - 93
advocate suggested that Mr Etchells had fallen into some trap by reference to the guidelines. It
appears that Mr Cameron was roaming somewhat away from his own witnesses evidence.
Nothing could be further from the truth – no trap has been fallen into, and there is no lack of
transparency involved in Mr Etchells’ approach. Notwithstanding Mr Cameron’s overly
forensic examination of Mr Etchells’ methodology, it must be remembered that neither Mr
Green nor Mr Russell Vick criticised Mr Etchells’ methodology, far from it. Nor was there any
suggestion that the judgments Mr Etchells reached were unreasonable or not credible. Mr Green
adopted Mr Etchells methodology without criticism, and the following exchange with Mr
Russell Vick during cross examination makes his position clear:
“CHW: There is no criticism of Mr Etchells’ methodology in your proof?
CHW: You have had the environmental statement and the methodology is the same there, isn’t
Yes, but methodologies can change.
CHW: But you didn’t raise it in your rebuttal. Why are you criticising it now?
I haven’t criticised his methodology. Mr Etchells’ approach is within the boundaries
CHW: So any criticisms I thought you might have made were not criticisms?
There is a difference of approach regarding the identification of significance.
CHW: Can I make a clear note that you are not criticising his approach?
I am not criticising him.
CHW: You are not saying that one approach is better than the other?
No, I am not saying that. It complies with GLIVIA/3.”
[CHW added orally with ref to KCC/R6 Closing para 36a (JE’s approach being ‘inconsistent’) – JE
referred to a number of factors, not just distance (look to the very paragraph NC refers to)
Visual impacts:
The visual impact of the proposed development is considered from paragraphs 6.4.5 –
6.4.7 of Mr Etchells’ proof. The parties to this appeal have raised particular concern about the
visual impacts on receptors at Brogden, Leeds Castle and the North Downs Way. The
Appellants acknowledge that there will be some adverse visual impacts from those locations,
but in Mr Etchells’ judgment, they will be limited in their degree and extent.
From Brogden, the lighting columns around the A20 roundabout and the Biffa waste
containers are currently visible, as are the HGVs passing along the A20. The roofs and upper
parts of the new buildings will be visible from Brogden, but will be a relatively small element
within a wide, expansive view. For these reasons, Mr Etchells concludes that the visual effects
will be no more that minor to moderate.100 The roof colour and design will mean that there will
be no disturbing reflection from the sun. The concern about reflectivity of solar panels on the
roofs of the buildings is misplaced, given that solar panels with matt finishes can be used to
prevent any reflection of the sun and would be used on the small roof areas of the office
component of the buildings only.
From Leeds Castle, visitors exiting the site will have a fleeting view of the development
as they come round the corner to exit the car park, but this will disappear from view as soon as
they turn left or right out onto the lane. The effect has been assessed by Mr Etchells to be minor
to moderate adverse. He has also acknowledged a minor adverse effect from the car park itself.
There will be a moderate adverse effect on the view from the 5th tee of the golf course, but only
a short distance away the view is lost. Even Mr Green describes views of the appeal site from
the car park and golf course as ‘glimpses’ and assesses the impact on receptors at Leeds Castle
to be minor/moderate adverse by year 1.101 Despite Mr Lash’s evidence to the contrary, it is
clear (and undoubtedly sensible) that members of the public are discouraged from wandering
onto the golf course. Mr Etchells produced a photograph of a sign at the castle prohibiting
pedestrian access to the golf course and Mr Green acknowledges in his proof that the golf course
is not normally accessible to general visitors.102 Twilight golf takes place on the golf course in
the evenings, which means that members of the public would not be likely to wander around
the golf course during daylight hours. The public footpath in the castle grounds lies
considerably lower than the 5th tee, and it is accepted by all parties that there would be no views
of the proposed buildings from that footpath. While Mr Lash suggested that there was an
additional viewpoint which should have been considered, Mr Etchells explained that he had
considered the viewpoint from the public footpath to the north east of the cricket field, but did
not believe there would be any effect on it as a result of the proposed development. He had
agreed with Mr Russell-Vick that this viewpoint should not be included as part of the visual
impact assessment. None of the professional landscape witnesses to this inquiry have suggested
that the viewpoint should have been included.
It is not in dispute that the new buildings would be present in views from parts of the
North Downs Way as it passes between Thurnham Castle and Hollingbourne. There is,
Proof of Mr Etchells, paragraph 6.4.5, third bullet point
Proof of Mr Green, paragraph 7.24 and table on page 63
Proof of Mr Green, paragraph 7.24
however, a dispute between the parties as to the extent of the views between Broad Street and
Hollingbourne. Mr Russell-Vick contends that there are open expansive views for 2.5km of that
stretch of footpath, whereas Mr Etchells says that the proposed development would only be
visible in some 1.6km of that stretch of footpath. Mr Etchells’ evidence is that while the new
buildings would be discernible in those views at least 2.5km away, they would represent a small
component of wide, expansive views, including of Maidstone, which already contain a number
of discordant elements, including the motorway, two railway lines and large expanses of
polytunnels. They would not represent a ‘wide arc’ in views from the North Downs, as
suggested by Mr Green. Mr Etchells explained that by using a protractor to measure the site on
an Ordnance Survey map, it occupied a view of only 8 degrees out of total of 360 degrees.
Overall, the visual impact on users of the North Downs Way would be insignificant. While the
new buildings would be discernible, they would not significantly change the view.
The proposed development will be visible from parts of the AONB and can therefore
be said to fall within the setting of the AONB following the decision of the High Court in Stroud
Paragraph 115 of the NPPF provides that great weight should be given to conserving
landscape and scenic beauty in AONBs and Mr Buckwell accepted that the scenic beauty of
AONBs could be affected by development outside of the AONB boundary, such that paragraph
115 would apply.
In the overall planning balance therefore great weight must be given to the conservation
of the landscape and scenic beauty of the North Downs AONB, as Mr Buckwell has done.103
The Inspector must also have regard to the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural
beauty of the AONB, in accordance with s.85 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
Regard must also be had to the AONB Management Plan as a material consideration. However,
when the Inspector comes to balance the harm against the benefits of the proposed development,
we invite her to to accept Mr Etchells’ judgment that any harm to the AONB is insignificant.
The insignificant harm to the AONB, even when it is accorded great weight, does not
outweigh, let alone significantly and demonstrably outweigh, the benefits of this scheme.
Valued Landscapes:
As confirmed in his cross examination by Mr Cameron, and his rebuttal proof at paragraph 1.3.17
The AONB and the Registered Park and Garden at Leeds Castle are both valued
landscapes, to which paragraph 109 of the NPPF applies. That paragraph provides that the
planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by, among
other things, protecting and enhancing valued landscapes.
Given that Mr Etchells has identified harm in the context of the valued AONB and
RPG, there is some conflict with paragraph 109, but the harm to the former is negligible or
insignificant in views from the AONB and there is only a slightly greater degree of harm in one
view from the RPG. Moreover, as Mr Buckwell observed, it cannot have been the government’s
intention that paragraph 109 should be used to prevent all development which can be seen from
valued landscapes such as AONBs – which in this case would cover an area of some 20 miles
- where the harm that would be caused to those valued landscapes is negligible.
Heritage assets
Mr Handcock has carried out a careful assessment of the impact of the proposed
development on the significance of heritage assets. He is the only heritage expert to have given
evidence at this inquiry and, in our submission, considerable weight should be accorded to his
professional judgments. Mr Green has attempted to address the Council’s heritage case on Old
Mill Farm, but he is a landscape expert with no particular qualifications or expertise in heritage
assessments, and this was apparent from his proof, which focused on the visual impacts of the
development rather than properly assessing effects on significance.104
The concerns raised by the LPA and CPRE Kent are limited to three particular heritage
assets – Old Mill Farm, Leeds Castle and the Brogden group of buildings.
Old Mill Farm105 is a non-designated heritage asset. It sits within the deep valley of the
River Len and is well screened generally, albeit visible in views from the south, and as a result
of its tight setting, it derives little significance from its wider setting. The contribution of the
appeal site to the setting of this asset is relatively limited in that it is not possible to experience
the interrelationship between the Old Mill Farm and the site from the immediate vicinity of the
asset because of the steep change in levels between them, and the heavily planted nature of the
appeal site’s southern boundary.106 From the asset group itself, there will only be very limited
intervisibility with the proposed buildings by virtue of the existing landform and the significant
See paragraphs 8.13 – 8.15 of Mr Green’s proof, where he assesses the impact of the proposed development,
referring to his ‘visual impact assessment’, the development being ‘visually dominating’ and having ‘an impact
on views’ and an ‘adverse effect on views’
And the millpond and site of the former mill
Proof of Mr Handcock, paragraph 5.35
intervening planting, both existing and proposed and the effect on the tight, isolated feel of Old
Mill Farm’s immediate setting will be extremely slight.107 In views from Brogden, the appeal
site can be seen as the backdrop to Old Mill Farm, and to this extent Mr Handcock recognises
that the appeal site does make something of a contribution to the asset.108 However, the
proposed development will appear as a discrete feature in these views - a thin sliver of
development within a wider landscape view – although Mr Handcock acknowledges that in
focused views, the appeal buildings would provide a more modernised backdrop to Old Mill
Farm and that this would result in some, limited harm to the non-designated heritage assets.109
In respect of Leeds Castle and its Registered Park and Garden, it is Mr Handcock’s
view that these assets have a predominantly inward-looking character, containing a series of
substantial bowls, particularly around the Castle itself. Mr Russell-Vick, in his landscape
assessment, appears to agree, describing Leeds Castle as ‘set within a bowl-like landform and
further contained by woodland to all sides except the south’110. Mr Handcock explained in his
written and oral evidence that the primary setting of Leeds Castle is its Registered Park and
Garden and that although the appeal site lies within the wider setting of the Castle and RPG it
does not make any contribution to the significance of those assets and the proposed
development would not harm their significance. While the new buildings would be visible from
the fifth tee of the golf course, they would be unobtrusive aspects, discernible some 1.5km away
but largely screened by the existing mature vegetation and seen in the context of other modern
features such as Woodcut Farm and the M20. The nature of the view, and the experience of the
divide between the well-defined RPG and its more heavily modernised surroundings, will
remain unaltered.
Mr Handcock considered the approach to Leeds Castle to be urbanised, and on this he
amplified in cross-examination by Mr Knox-Johnston. The introduction of the proposed
development would be a change, but it would not affect the character of the area, which
currently provides a markedly different, and more modern context to that within the Castle’s
grounds. The new buildings would be apparent to visitors leaving Leeds Castle, but any views
of them would be experienced in conjunction with views of the Mercure Great Danes hotel and
would be shortlived. The manner in which the view would be experienced is relevant and as
Mr Handcock pointed out, the view from the Castle entrance would be viewed as a glimpse as
people left the Castle, almost always from a car or coach. It would not effect the character of
the Castle’s setting.
Proof of Mr Handcock, paragraph 5.55
Proof of Mr Handcock, paragraph 5.36
Proof of Mr Handcock, paragraph 5.56
Proof of Mr Russell Vick, paragraph 4.20
In Mr Handcock’s professional judgment, the proposed development will not harm
Leeds Castle or its Registered Park and Garden.
From the listed buildings at Brogden there would be some views of the proposed
development at a distance of around 1km. The wider setting of the Brogden buildings is largely
rural, and views from the north do make something of a contribution towards understanding of
this group of assets. However, urban features are discernible in views from Brogden at all times
of the year, including the road signage along the A20 and M20 and the street lighting along the
A20 and the noise from those busy roads111. As part of a wide set of views – Mr Handcock
describes the views from Brogden as almost panoramic112 - that include some modern
influences, the appeal site makes only a limited contribution to the significance of the Brogden
assets113. As a result of the design approach, including the regrading of the site, the colouring
and curved form of the roof, the proposed development will sit comfortably into the existing
view and will not alter the character of the view from Brogden or represent a harmful
introduction into the landscape.114 Mr Handcock does not consider that the introduction of the
proposed development would harm the significance of the Brogden assets.
We invite you to accept Mr Handcock’s professional and well-considered judgment
that the appeal proposals will not harm the listed Leeds Castle and RPG or the listed Brogden
buildings. Section 66 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990
provides that ‘In considering whether to grant planning permission for development which
affects a listed building or its setting, the […] Secretary of State shall have special regard to
the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural
or historic interest which it possesses’. If a proposed development ‘affects’ a listed building or
its setting, then section 66 will be engaged, and the effect of s.66 is that if a proposed
development will cause harm to a listed building or its setting, then that harm must be accorded
considerable importance and weight. In the present case, however, there will be no harm to the
setting or significance of any listed building. The only harm identified by Mr Handock is to the
limited harm to the non-designated Old Mill Farm. With reference to paragraph 135 of the
NPPF, the effect of the proposed development on Old Mill Farm must be taken into account in
determining this appeal, but the harm to this non-designated heritage asset is limited and clearly
less than substantial. [CHW added orally with ref to RK-J closing re: Old England Cottage – 1)
Not part of CPRE case and 2) in any event addressed by LH IN HIS ASSESSMENT/Proof.]
Proof of Mr Handcock, paragraph 5.29 – 5.30
Proof of Mr Handcock, paragra[h 5.32
Proof of Mr Handcock, paragraph 5.31
Proof of Mr Handcock, paragraph 5.50
Other objections
It was apparent during the inquiry the campaign of local opposition to the scheme had
drawn on fears that this scheme amounted to a return of the Kent International Gateway (KIG)
development, refused permission by the Secretary of State in 2010. As Mr Buckwell explained
in his evidence in chief, comparison to the KIG development is not appropriate and it unlikely
to be helpful to the Inspector, given the significant differences in both the development
proposed and the policy context. Even a brief consideration of the KIG development reveals
that it bears no comparison to the development proposed in this appeal.
First, the KIG proposal was for a very substantial Strategic Rail Freight Interchange
rather than for B1, B2 and B8 development. The KIG appeal site was some seven times larger
that the appeal site. It was 2.5km wide and stretched all the way from Junction 8 to the borders
of Bearstead.
Secondly, the impacts of the scheme were entirely different, the KIG scheme being
wholly different in nature and scale. As the Inspector in that case explained, people travelling
along the M20 would lose all sense of being in the countryside if the KIG development took
place.115 Similarly, the effect on the views from the AONB was obviously different. Also, the
use of the KIG site was to be far more intrusive in its surroundings. In addition to the movement
of trains in and out of the site, the proposal was for a number of large buildings and permanent
cranes on the site, loading and unloading goods from trains, as well as the noise associated with
shunting trains.
Thirdly, the policy context has changed significantly since the KIG decision, not least
because of the introduction of the NPPF, with its presumption in favour of sustainable
development and greater focus on securing economic growth through the planning system.
In response to Mr Knox Johnston’s question in his opening statement about what had
changed since KIG, the answer is very clearly that many things have changed. One thing which
has not changed is the existence and importance of the AONB, but this is not a matter which
the Appellants have never sought to dispute.
This is not a matter raised by the LPA in its reason for refusal, and nor has it sought to
pursue any such argument as part of this appeal. That is of significance, since prematurity is an
issue that pre-eminently affects the LPA in its role in progressing the draft local plan.
CD34, paragraph 18.33
Mr Carpenter raised the matter in his proof of evidence. This was some surprise since
there is no reference to the issues in the KCC/R6s’ Statement of Case. When criticised for
raising an issue that was not part of his client’s case, the inquiry was referred by Mr Cameron
to a some reference to prematurity in an AONB Unit’s representation on the planning
applications, but not to any such representation by KCC or Natural England. The fact that
prematurity was not an issue raised by KCC or NE in their earlier representations and the fact
that the issue, having been raised by the AONB Unit in its earlier representations but then
omitted from the Statement of Case, clearly implies that when the KCC/R6 parties came to
formulate their case for the purposes of the appeal, they recognised the weakness of the point
and decided not to pursue it. Notwithstanding this, Mr Carpenter, apparently with a roaming
brief, sought to raise the argument in his proof of evidence. Mr Lloyd (for CPRE Kent) also
raised a prematurity argument.
The contention that the appeal scheme applications are premature is misconceived.
The NPPG makes it clear that “in the context of the Framework and in particular the
presumption in favour of sustainable development – arguments that an application is premature
are unlikely to justify a refusal of planning permission other than where it is clear that the
adverse impacts of granting permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the
benefits”116. It goes on to explain that such circumstances are likely, albeit not exclusively, to
be limited to situations where (a) the development proposed is so substantial, or its cumulative
effect so significant, that to grant planning permission would undermine the plan-making
process by predetermining decisions about the scale, location or phasing of new development
“and” (b) the emerging plan is at an advanced stage. Although neither Mr Carpenter or Mr
Lloyd had properly considered the second element of the NPPG (indeed, Mr Lloyd’s proof of
evidence did not even refer to the NPPG in this context) both the KCC/R6s and CPRE Kent
accept that the emerging plan is not at an advanced stage117; Mr Carpenter and Mr Lloyd should
have acknowledged that on this basis the guidance does not support their arguments. Their
refuge in cross-examination was to seize upon the words “not exclusively” and say that the
NPPG allows for exceptions to the general rule that both criteria must be satisfied in order to
justify a refusal on prematurity ground. However, there was absolutely no explanation from
either of them as to why this should be regarded as an exceptional case. Mr Lloyd’s approach
appeared to be that the scale of the proposal is “strategic”. Mr Cameron sought to develop the
argument in cross-examination of Mr Buckwell by referring to the “substantial” nature of the
proposals and employment provison in the plan period, but that is clearly not enough to justify
an exception; that is merely say that criterion (a) is satisfied. Having regard to the Government’s
NPPG, paragraph 014
This was made clear in cross-examination.
policy edict of keeping plans up to date, the appallingly slow progress of the emerging plan and
the significant economic needs that are not being met in Maidstone there can be no exceptional
case here for refusal on grounds of prematurity.
The Local Plan has been in preparation for over ten years. The Regulation 18
consultation draft published in February 2014 did not allocate Junction 8 for employment, but
more recent evidence has led MBC’s officers to conclude that the balance is now in favour of
allocating Junction 8 and the Planning Scrutiny and Overview Committee has resolved in
principle to support such an allocation. In cross-examination Mr Lloyd recognised that this may
mean that the draft Local Plan has to be revised. In any event, timescales even for the next stage
in the preparation process (let alone the adoption of the Plan) are wholly uncertain. In those
circumstances, prematurity is not a tenable argument.
On behalf of CPRE Kent it is argued that allowing the appeals would create a precedent
that would result in further development at Junction 8. It is by no means inevitable that any
other proposals for development at Junction 8 will warrant a grant of planning permission just
because the balance falls in favour of allowing these appeals. In our submission, these appeals
must be determined on their own merits, weighing their particular benefits against any harm,
as accepted by Mr Lloyd in his proof of evidence.118
Traffic matters:
In relation to traffic matters, DHA Transport has carried out a comprehensive and
robust assessment which was not subject to any criticism. The scope of the assessment was
agreed with the Highways Agency and KCC Highways in advance. The Transport Assessment
included detailed trip forecasts and traffic modelling which show that the development will not
result in significant traffic increases on local roads or the wider Maidstone area.
Concerns raised by CPRE Kent that material could not be removed from the site within
the timescales or vehicle movements assessed in the environmental statement are unfounded.
Concerns that the HGVs would travel through Leeds Village were similarly misplaced. HGVs
will travel via the M20. The 20t tippers which will be used to transport the material have a total
laden weight of 32t, and cannot use the B2163 through Leeds Village because of the 17t weight
restriction, which applies to the total laden weight of the vehicle.
In answer to criticisms about the traffic surveys, Mr Lewis (for the Appellants)
explained that it was not good practice to carry out traffic surveys during school holidays.
Department for Transport data indicates that there is a reduction in the number of vehicles on
Proof of Mr Lloyd, paragraph 2.9
the road of 20% during school holidays, and this accords with Mr Lewis’ professional
judgment. It was for this reason that surveys were not taken during July or August, and both
KCC Highways and the HA agreed to the date of the surveys. While the number of visitors to
Leeds Castle may increase during July and August, the overall traffic would be lower.
CPRE Kent also expressed a concern about the level of parking on site. This concern
too is not justified. The Transport Assessment clearly shows that sufficient car parking has been
It is not in dispute that Leeds Castle is required to put in place a traffic management
plan when it hosts major events, but the plan submitted by Mr Lash indicates that at the peak
period, 3,500 vehicles exit the Castle in a half hour period, far in excess of the peak traffic from
the proposed development. The major events at Leeds Castle are few and far between and
generally take place at weekends. The proposed development will not materially affect traffic
conditions during those events, and of course neither KCC Highways not Highways England
has expressed any concern in this regard.
With respect to Operation Stack, this is an exceptional and infrequent occurrence, over
which the Appellant have no control. While it is certainly inconvenient when it is put in place,
the proposed development will not exacerbate the inconvenience. [CHW added orally ref RKJ Closing (KCC letter 20/1/2015) – JB given no opportunity to see or respond to letter and in
any event not relevant as in the context of the Local Plan and advising on the deliberation of
housing sites.]
In relation to tourism, there is simply no evidence that the proposed development will
have any impact on tourism. The ES submitted with the application concludes that the proposed
development will not adversely affect visitor numbers nor tourism related businesses.
Mr Lash sought to persuade you that tourists would be put off visiting Leeds Castle in
their droves because they would have to drive past Waterside Park. With respect to him, it is
not credible to suggest that visitors will be put off visiting the Castle because of the existence
of the Waterside Park development. There is similarly no credible case that the proposed
developments will have a detrimental effect on the wider tourist trade.
It is accepted that public footpath KH181 will need to be diverted and its context
changed. However, the footpath is not well used at present. The diverted route would run within
a green corridor around the western perimeter of the site, with a hedge proposed to screen views
into the site from the footpath. At present, the only way to access the northern part of the
footpath is by walking along the busy A20 dual carriageway. The principal concern raised by
Mr Smith was that pedestrians would have to cross the access road into the site in order to reach
the footpath. However, the proposed access arrangements to the site, which include a pedestrian
island in the centre of the access road, do not provide any safety risk to pedestrians. This was
not a matter which caused any concern to KCC’s public rights of way team (or the highways
authority), who did not object to the Appeal A application, and said in respect of the Appeal B
application that it considered the diversion to be entirely appropriate and would fully support
it.119 The LPA’s planning officer considered that the new route would only extend the length of
the route marginally, and would not be unsafe.
Agricultural land:
It is acknowledged that there will be some, but very limited, loss of best and most
versatile agricultural land. However, as Mr Buckwell explained, much of the undeveloped land
around Maidstone is BMV and it is almost inevitable that some good quality agricultural land
will be lost if Maidstone’s employment and housing needs are to be met. It is of note that the
loss of best and most versatile agricultural land did not form part of the LPA’s reasons for
refusing permission for either application.
Air quality:
An assessment of the potential air quality impacts of the proposed development has
been undertaken in accordance with the EPUK guidance and the findings are set out in Chapter
12 of the ES. The assessment found that the increases in nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter
(PM10) were, at worst, 0.2 micrograms per cubic metre of air and 0.02 micrograms per cubic
metre respectively. The EPUK Guidance ‘Planning for Air Quality’ (2010) indicates that
increases in nitrogen oxide and PM10 of less than 0.4micrograms should be treated as
imperceptible. The impact of the development will be less than that level and imperceptible.
Water quality:
The impact of the proposed development on water quality in the local water courses
and water features will be negligible. The ES concludes that there will be no net change to the
existing hydrological regime as a result of the proposed development, and neither Kent Wildlife
Trust, the Environment Agency or Natural England object to the development on the basis of
water quality or ecological grounds. Contrary to Cllr Harwood’s assertion, this is not because
they know nothing of the local conditions, but rather because they are satisfied that no harm
will be caused by the development. Good site practice and the installation of protection
measures will prevent any discharge from the site to the adjacent watercourses and Kent
Officer’s report, CD51
Wildlife Trust is satisfied that ground conditions mitigate the risk of harmful water level
fluctuations in the River Len.
Mr Warren (on behalf of CPRE) correctly records the fact that the EA opposes any
development which constitutes a threat to high value aquifers. In this case, mitigation has been
proposed to prevent contamination of the aquifer, and the EA has not objected to the proposed
development. Conditions were discussed at the inquiry and CPRE Kent made no comments on
the proposed conditions. There is no evidence or reason to doubt the efficacy of those conditions
and control mechanisms.
Foul sewage:
The disposal of foul drainage is considered in the Flood Risk Assessment submitted
with the applications, which states that a connection could be made to a foul sewer, or a sewage
treatment plant could be constructed on site. The details of the foul drainage system would be
controlled by condition requiring the submission to and approval by the local planning authority
of a detailed scheme for the disposal of foul water, before any development can commence on
site, in order to protect groundwater and the River Len.
Planning balance and conclusion
In order to benefit from the presumption in paragraph 14 of the NPPF the proposed
development must be sustainable. That is common ground. Whether or not it is sustainable
development is determined by reference to the three dimensions of sustainable development set
out in paragraph 7 of the NPPF and the policies in the NPPF taken as a whole.120
Mr Buckwell confirmed that having had regard to the NPPF policies as a whole, he had
reached the conclusion that the proposed development is sustainable.121 We invite you to accept
that conclusion and his assessment of the relative harms and benefits of the scheme in
determining this appeal. Not only was his evidence a fair and reliable assessment of all material
considerations, but his judgments were properly arrived at.
We cannot do justice to Mr Buckwell’s comprehensive evidence on this matter within
the confines of this closing statement but we say as follows. There is no serious dispute between
the parties as to the significant economic benefits to the local economy that will accrue if either
of the appeals is allowed. That is why Maidstone BC’s Economic Development Committee, the
Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and the UK Trade and Investment Department all support
the applications. As a result of delays in securing a suitable local site, Maidstone has lost a
NPPF paragraph 6
See his proof of evidence and in particular section 11
significant element of one of its valued businesses, but there remains a qualitative and
quantitative need for employment buildings to meet market demand. Waterside Park would
serve that need. It would also support a strong and vibrant community through the retention of
an important local company which provides a significant number of much needed local jobs.
Strong communities clearly rely on employment opportunities. So do local economies, and the
Maidstone economy is in need of significant strengthening. Relevant to the social aspect of
sustainability, the proposed development includes the provision of a significant number of jobs
and the on site companies themselves will support local communities as well as providing the
more site specific social facilities such as the minibus services and canteen and crèche facilities
for the benefit of its staff. In terms of environmental matters, whilst there are some limited
negative impacts, which the Appellants have acknowledged, the proposals have been designed
to high BREAM rating levels and include various environmental improvement aspects such as
SUDS, landscape (eg extensive new planting) and biodiversity enhancement provision. The
officer’s report recognises that there is also an environmental benefit in locating this
development close to the motorway junction, thereby reducing the movement of HGVs along
unsuitable local roads and through Maidstone town centre.122 [CHW added orally ref KCC/R6
Closing para 77 (sustainable development) – consistent with witnesses’ evidence in that it
ignores economic dimension. Conclusion that it cannot be considered sust. reached without
looking at one dimension completely and not taking policies as a whole. Ref MBC Closing
paras 38-40 (Sustainable development) – ref to Wenman case and ‘sensible view’ relates to a
particular case (see Wenman para 77-78) – ref to Dartford case and sust. Requiring a balance
to be made. SW seizes on negatives and asserts it cannot be considered sust. Wrong in law,
wrong in logic and wrong in merits. Bloor Homes case – particular facts appear to be Green
Wedge with no other forces weighing in determination.
It has been said that the appeal site would be inaccessible except by private car and that
this renders it unsustainable. This is not true. There is a bus stop within 400m of the site’s
entrance which provides an hourly bus service to Maidstone and Ashford between 7am and
7pm and Bearstead is within walking distance of the site.123 The Appellants are committed to
the provision of a shuttle bus for its staff, which will be used by a local charity outside of peak
hours. Of course some people will choose to drive to the site, but this is inevitable given that
the industrial use proposed would not be appropriate within or immediately adjacent to
residential areas. The NPPF recognises that different policies and measures will be required
and that opportunities to maximise sustainable transport solutions will vary between urban and
CD51, paragraph 8.125
In compliance with polich T21 of the Local Plan 2000, which as Mr Buckwell said is in any event out of date
with the NPPF
rural areas124 and says that decisions should consider whether opportunities for sustainable
transport modes have been taken up, depending on the nature and location of the site125. It also
provides that developments should be located and designed to accommodate the efficient
delivery of good and supplies126, which is an important feature of the proposed development.
Looking at the policies in the NPPF as a whole, including its policies on sustainable transport,
this development cannot said to be unsustainable by virtue of its location.
It is acknowledged that there will be some harm to the landscape and to non-designated
heritage assets as a result of the development. Mr Buckwell has carried out a balancing exercise,
fairly weighing the harm against the benefits of the scheme in section 11 of his proof of
evidence and has concluded that the adverse impacts do not significantly and demonstrably
outweigh the benefits, and that the appeal should be allowed. In his evidence in chief he also
confirmed that even if policy ENV28 was not out of date and the weighted presumption in
paragraph 14 of the NPPF did not apply, the very significant benefits of allowing this scheme
would outweigh any conflict with the development plan and the adverse impacts such that
permission should be granted.
We invite you to find that policy ENV28 is out of date, that the proposed development
is sustainable and that paragraph 14 of the NPPF applies. In our submission the limited harm
caused by the development does not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of
the development; rather the opposite is true – the benefits of allowing the appeals significantly
outweigh the harm. As such, we invite you to allow the appeals.
Craig Howell Williams QC
Isabella Tafur
FTB Chambers
21st May 2015
NPPF paragraph 29
NPPF paragraph 32
NPPF paragraph 35